Shakespeare opens the 2019-20 Pocahontas Opera House season in Marlinton

A rollicking good time is promised as the Rustic Mechanicals open the 2019-20 Pocahontas Opera House season with Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.  Jason Young tells us a little about the group.

“The Rustic Mechanicals are the only touring Shakespeare troupe in the state of West Virginia,” said Young.  “And we started in the summer of 2014; it’s our sixth season of tour and it’ll be our second summer coming up to visit the pretty incredible Pocahontas County Opera House.”

The Rustic Mechanicals formed under the auspices of the Vintage Theatre Company based in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  Young said the primary goal of the Vintage Theatre is to unite the very best theatre, teaching and performance artists in the state, allow them space to create and to focus on what may not exist artistically in the state.

“And so one of the main things we thought was missing in the state six years ago was any type of dedicated troupe of actors that focused on the works of William Shakespeare,” said Young.

“How well have you been received?”

“We’re still around [laughter], so that’s good! We’ve grown every year.  We started with a team of seven actors and five staff members and this year our troupe is fifty artists strong and that includes are apprentice training programs.”

The Rustic Mechanicals present “As You Like It” July 6th at the Pocahontas Opera House – courtesy of the Vintage Theatre Company

This is not necessarily the traditional form of a Shakespearean play and that could be a good thing.

“Here’s what we do; we do Shakespeare’s words, everything that we say in the show was written by Shakespeare,” said Young. “We usually cut the shows, we trim them for length.  Like this production of As You Like It that’s coming to the Opera House is going to be about an hour and 45 minutes without an intermission, it’s a straight through.  We treat them like movies; if you sit for a 2 hour movie, you can sit for an hour and 45 minutes of Shakespeare.”

So how relevant is Shakespeare in the age of Instagram?

“Well I think the reason that Shakespeare has stuck around is because his stories are universal,” said Young. “They are written in an incredibly poetic language, but it is written in English and Shakespeare was a lot better at grammar than we were and you discover that if you act in enough of his plays. “

The Rustic Mechanicals will bring Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “As You Like It” to the Opera House stage on Saturday July 6th at 7:30pm as part of the Laugh and Let Go Tour. Tickets are $10.00 and can be ordered at or at the door.

In addition to the play, the Opera House is also offering a teen acting workshop Saturday afternoon at 2pm.  The two and half hour workshop will be taught by members of the Rustic Mechanicals and will focus on the rhythm and rhyme found in Shakespeare’s works.  For more about the Rustic Mechanicals, you can visit



Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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